The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a US$250 million loan to finance the construction of 6,254 kilometres all-weather rural roads in the states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a press releases of Ministry of Finance, Government of India said.
The First Tranche Loan is part of the US$500 million Second Rural Connectivity Investment Program for India approved by the ADB Board in December 2017. The programme is aimed at improving rural connectivity, facilitating safer and more efficient access to livelihood and socio-economic opportunities for rural communities through improvements to about 12,000 kilometres rural roads across the 5 states, the press release further said.
Sameer Kumar, Khare, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs in Ministry of Finance signed the loan agreement on behalf of Government of India. Speaking on the occasion, Khare said that the ADB-funded investment programme would provide continued assistance to the PMGSY and support the Government’s long-term goal for rural development. He said that the programme is likely to have a transformative impact in terms of rural economy and would also bring in greater efficiency in terms of access and connectivity for the rural people in the five States. Under the project, about 2,000 technical personnel would be imparted training on road safety and maintenance.
Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission who signed the agreement for ADB, said that the investment program would support the Government’s drive for innovative approaches to reduce costs, conserve non-renewable natural resources, and promote the use of waste materials in rural road construction. He said that road maintenance will be ensured through the provision of a 5-year post-construction maintenance in each civil works contract.
The investment programme builds on the US$800 million ADB-financed first Rural Connectivity Investment Program in 2012 that added about 9,000 kilometres of all-weather rural roads in the same states, the release added.
In view of increased rainfall and storm surges in the project states, the road designs will take into account these climate risks with measures such as greater elevation of road embankments, slope protection, and better drainage in flood-prone areas. Women were extensively consulted during the project design and will gain some key benefits, including improved access to healthcare, livelihoods, and schooling, the release informed.